This past weekend in Japan was the 86th official Comic Market, better known as Comiket. You don’t hold an event 86 times without some strange urban legends cropping up.
Comiket is Japan’s bi-annual indie comic event held at Tokyo Big Site where manga creators, amateur to professional, gather to sell privately made manga, called Doujinshi. The original Comiket was held in 1975 and was an underground event with only 32 sellers and 700 participants. Since then it’s grown to an otaku paradise, boasting over 500,000 participants over the span of three days.
Since its inception, along with the event itself, the number of myths and legends surrounding the event has grown. Some are true, some are obviously false, some remain a mystery. Here are a few gathered from the internet from the site, NAVER Matome.
The Comiket Cloud
During the summer, it’s said that the heat and moisture from the sheer number of bodies packed in the Tokyo Big Site causes a cloud to form in the event hall. I’d call this one bogus if I hadn’t seen it for myself last year during one of the hottest Comiket’s I’ve ever experienced.
Mobile phones don’t work
Another urban legend I actually experience firsthand at almost every Comiket. With over 150,000 people moving in and out of the event hall, many of them tweeting, posting information or attempting to use their phones in other ways, the absolute chaos of phone signals basically renders most of them useless until about 4pm when the event ends and the crowds disperse.
After buying too many porn doujinshi and stuffing them all into a bag, while waiting for a train, the bag tears, spilling out its contents for all to see, humiliating the buyer
This is a legend that has many variations with multiple people reporting it happening to them every event. True or not, it sounds fairly likely.
During or around Comiket, major events have a tendency to occur
The Romanian revolution, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and Operation Desert Storm, the Russian Coup and fall of Gorbachev, pipes bursting at the Mihama nuclear power plant in Japan… Major events will occur around the world regardless of Comiket. Still, the coincidence is kind of fun.
A nerd tidal wave will occur with men yelling as they scramble to be first in line
The ratio of adult diapers is more than Ichiro Suzuki’s batting average
Every year, there are reports of people soiling themselves waiting in line for the event to start or for the bathrooms. While the number of “reports” are numerous, there are very few actual eye-witness accounts of someone pissing or shitting their pants.
If it rains, then the fabled “people wearing trash bags” begin to appear
It’s common courtesy when in line at Comiket not to open an umbrella even when it rains. Instead, people use rain coats, ponchos, or garbage bags in some cases. I’ve never actually been to a rainy Comiket (see below) but supposedly it looks like an army of chrysalises.
Once, during the Winter Comiket, someone froze to death while camped out overnight. Supposedly they dumped his body into the nearby ocean and held the event regardless
This legend is baseless, but at the same time, knowing Japanese otaku, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. Not completely.
A cosplayer once brought a real sword as part of their costume
Cosplaying is another big part of Comiket. Apparently, someone went a little overboard in the authenticity of their costume. Supposedly, they were arrested the next day.
Even when it’s forecast that a typhoon will hit, it will veer away, pushed back by the heat of the gathered otaku
Another legend based more in coincidence than science. Still, I’ve seen it happen once before where a typhoon was on a direct course for Tokyo, with every forecaster saying it would hit, only to have it miss, leaving only blue skies for Comiket.
Likewise, I’ve participated in about 10 Comiket events, and it rarely ever rains during the event. This past weekend was supposed to be rainy from Friday to Sunday. In Tokyo, it was not. Spotty at times, but definitely not the level of rain the weather reports would have us believe. Twitter user @SekiyaHiroshi posted a weather image from last week on the first day of Comiket. Tokyo is the sunny mark on the lower right:
Whoever pulls out the giant saw will rule the world
My favourite Comiket myth. In front of the Tokyo Big Site, there is a monument of a giant handsaw stuck in the ground. Apparently, much like Arthurian legend, he (or she) who pulls it out, shall be king.
Next Comiket, I swear I’ll pull that thing out.